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Thalia Chadzigiannoglou & Ageliki Gena
Thalia Chadzigiannoglou holds a BA in English Litterature and an MA in
Ageliki Gena is an Assistant Professor of Special Education.

Designing a Bilingual (English-Greek/Greek English) Glossary for Applied Behavior Analysis Terminology


Applied Behavior Analysis techniques are widely used as an effective tool for enhancing personal choice by increasing options and by teaching appropriate skills.

One of the major obstacles to the comprehension, implementation and dissemination of Applied Behavioral Analysis techniques in the Greek culture is the lack of bilingual (English-Greek/Greek-English) dictionaries or glossaries that might bridge the equivalence gap between the two languages and provide effective communication among specialists within the two cultures.

Identification and collection of basic Behavioral Analysis Terminology that specialists use in documents and study of each term in relation to its semantics, structure, form and status, as it appears in the document, provided the foundations for the designing of a bilingual glossary that might be a useful tool for those who would like to enhance their understanding of the principles and techniques of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Special Language (s)

Language is a complex heterogeneous system comprising various interrelated subsystems, each of which can be described at the phonological (phoneme), morphological (morpheme), lexical (lexeme), syntactic (sentence) and discourse (text) levels (Cabre, 1992).

General Language or Language for General Purposes (LGP) is a "set of rules, units and restrictions that form part of the knowledge of most speakers of a language" (Cabre, 1992:59), whereas Special Language or Language for Special/Specific Purposes (LSP) is a "specialized, monofunctional, subject-specific language, in which words or terms are used in a way peculiar to that domain, and also in some cases, morphologically and syntactically" (Kugler, Ahmad & Thurmair, 1995:59).

LGP is used for everyday discourse, is acquired through social communication and formal education and differs from LSP in terms of "the lexicon, the range of the grammatical structures and their semantic determinacy" (Ahmad & Rogers, 1993:170). On the other hand, LSP is acquired through communication with specialists and formal specialized training or experience and it is used for communication purposes among members of a certain profession (Duff, 1981).

Generally speaking, LSPs convey specific information to specific audiences for specific purposes (Markel, 1988). They are acquired voluntarily and are used by a limited number of speakers. Their communicative function is based on concise, precise and impersonal texts, which are characterized by a plethora of nouns and nominal groups and symbols from other semiotic systems. In relation to LGP, they are autonomous, since any variations among them do not influence or are not influenced by the general language (Cabre, 1992).

Although there are various LSPs in every language, the most common classification of special languages is based on subject field (eg. Computer Terminology). According to this standpoint, Applied Behaviour Analysis constitutes a special subject field, with its own special linguistic (lexical, morphological and syntactic), pragmatic (situation, senders and recipients of the message) and functional (the communicative intention) features.


A term is defined as "a meaningful lexical unit consisting of a word or a group of words used to univocally designate a concept in a specific subject field" (Delisle, Lee-Jahnke & Cormier, 1999:185).

The above definition introduces the notion of "concepts" defined as "mental constructs used to classify the individual objects in the external or internal world by means of a more or less arbitrary process of abstraction" (ISO standard, 1987, as cited by Cabre, 1991:95).

A concept consists of distinctive characteristics which may be essential (necessary to describe it) or complementary (not relevant to the description), intrinsic (describe the concept as a representative of a class) or extrinsic (external to the definition as a class) (Cabre, 1991).

Terms of a special subject are related forming a conceptual field. For example, the conceptual field of Behavioral Analysis consists of the concepts that make up this domain.

Terms and words of LGP share similarities. They both have a systematic (formal, semantic and functional) and pragmatic side (Cabre, 1991). Although the systematic side is common, there are differences in the pragmatic side, since "terms are used by experts or technical writers to communicate the knowledge of the domain to other experts, novices and in some cases laypersons" (Kugler, Ahmad & Thurmair, 1995:60).

Terms are classified in relation to form, function, meaning and origin (Cabre, 1991).

The form criteria focus on (Cabre, 1991):

1. The number of constituent morhemes, whether they are simple or complex (eg. cell, postreinforcement). It is also possible a term to appear simple but upon further analysis turn out to be complex (eg. abbreviations, initialisms, acronyms, clippings).
2. The types of morhemes that make up a complex term (eg. derivatives or compounds).
3. The combination of words that form terminological phrases (eg. restitutional overcorrection).

The function criteria focus on the role that terms play in discourse. From this standpoint they can be classified into functional groups, such as nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs (Cabre, 1991).
The meaning criteria focus on the conceptual classes terms designate and how these classes are expressed. According to this standpoint, we can identify the following classes (Cabre, 1991):

1. Objects, expressed by nouns.
2. Processes, operations and actions, expressed by verbs or nominalizations of verbs.
3. Properties, states and qualities expressed by adjectives.
4. Relationships expressed by adjectives, verbs, prepositions.

Finally, the linguistic origin criteria focus on the creation of terms by means of applying the rules of the language (eg. borrowing of foreign lexical units) (Cabre, 1991).
Terms are formed according to the following methods (Cabre, 1991):

1. Formal methods which comprise derivation (addition of affixes to lexical bases to form new words), compunding (combination of two or more lexical bases to form a new lexeme) and truncation (reduction of a unit to one of its constituents, such as initialisms, acronyms and clippings).
2. Functional methods which comprise conversion or zero derivation (eg. perfect-verb, perfect-noun) and lexicalization (conversion of the inflected forms of a lexeme into a new word that belongs to a different grammatical category)
3. Semantic methods that distinguish two processes: Provenance of the base form and modification by extending, narrowing or changing the meaning of the base form.

Terminology consists of the terms of a special language and comprises the vocabulary of "special texts" in science, technology, social sciences and art (Ahmad & Rogers, 1993). The collection, systematization and presentation of terms of a specific domain is called terminography.

The Problem of Non-Equivalence at Word Level

Translation, whether literary or scientific/technical is defined as "an interlinguistic transfer procedure, comprising the interpretation of a source text and the production of a target text with the intent of establishing a relation of equivalence between the two texts" (Delisle, Lee-Jahnke & Cormier, 1999:88).

The concept of "equivalence" is introduced in the above definition. It means that the Target Language (TL) has a direct equivalent for a Source Language (SL) word (Baker, 1992). However, there are many occasions, in which non-equivalence at word level occurs between the two languages. Baker (1992) specifies the following common problems of non-equivalence:

1. The SL uses a culture specific concept, unknown to the Target culture.
2. The SL concept is not lexicalized in the TL.
3. The SL word is semantically complex.
4. The SL and TL make different distinctions in meaning.
5. The TL lacks a superordinate or a hyponym.
6. There are differences in interpersonal perspective, expressive meaning, form, frequency and purpose of using specific forms and use of loan words.
To surpass these problems, translators use the following strategies (Baker, 1991):

1. Translation by a more general word (superordinate).
2. Translation by a more neautral or less expressive word.
3. Translation by cultural substitution.
4. Translation using a loan word or loan word plus explanation.
5. Translation by paraphrase using a related word.
6. Translattion by paraphrase using unrelated words.
7. Translation by omission.
8. Translation by illustration.

Newmark (1988) draws specific attention on neologisms which can be:

1. Old words with new senses. They are usually translated by a word that already exists in the TL or by using a descriptive term.
2. New coinages
3. Abbreviations which should be written out in the TL, unless they coincide.
4. New collocations (noun compounds or adjective plus noun) are transferred in the TL, adding a functional descriptive term.
5. Phrasal words should be translated with their semantic equivalents.
6. Transferred words should be either given a functional descriptive equivalent or transferred together with a generic term and the requisite specific detail.
7. Acronyms should be transferred or decoded.
8. Eponyms should either be translated as they are, naturalised without comment or "reduced" to sense, depending on the readership.

Terminological problems arise due to the following (Cabre, 1991):
The designation of a concept may be uncertain or unclear or there are no suitable equivalents between the two languages. In this case reference works, subject field experts, specialized databases, lexicographic works or official standardized bodies should be consulted.

Niska (1988) suggests the following translation strategies for problematic words and concepts:

1. Close equivalent, when available.
2. Loan translation (Literal translation of SL term).
3. Translation of explanation of concept.
4. Direct loan.
5. Neologism.
6. Combination strategies.

Despite all these strategies, the most important fact is the translator's creativity, which is necessary in the following occasions (Newmark, 1988):

1. Translation of cultural words, specific to a certain community.
2. Translation of transcultural words.
3. Translation of concept words which have different emphases in different communities.
4. Translation of peculiar syntactic structures.
5. Translation of metaphors, idioms, proverbs, neologisms, puns.
6. Translation of quality words which lack one to one equivalent.
7. Phonaesthetic effects.



The document corpus for the list of Applied Behavioral Analysis terms was the book "Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers" (Alberto & Troutman, 1999). It was chosen as the basic source for the following reasons:

1. It is representative of the subject matter (Applied Behavior Analysis).
2. It is up to date (5th edition), in relavance to the designations used by the experts and the topic.
3. Terminological data could be easily identified and retrieved.


For the development of the bilingual glossary the steps below were followed:

1. Specification of addressees, purpose and size.
The scopos (from the Greek word "σκοπός"=aim, target, purpose) of the bilingual glossary would be to help not only specialized experts but also non-experts overcome terminology problems related to the special language, thus facilitating exchange of ideas, services etc. For this reason, basic vocabulary, as well as more specialized one would be included. In relevance to the size, no particular preoccupation was taken.
2. Selection, extracting and writing of terms.
Segments representing concepts in Applied Behavior Analysis were recognized , selected and written in a terminological record, including their definitions, as they appeared in the context.
3. Deciding on the appropriate equivalent.

This stage was the most difficult, due to the lack of specialized dictionaries, glossaries databases, multilingual texts etc. Careful study of the term, as it appeared in the context and extensive discussions among subject field experts were used to resolve problems.


English - Greek Behaviour Analysis Glossary by Thalia Chadzigiannoglou & Ageliki Gena


Ahmad, K., & Rogers, M. (1993). Terminology and knowledge processing. In Y. Gamblier & J. Tommola (Eds), Translation and Knowledge (pp. 167-181). Turku: University of Turku.
Alberto, P. A. & Troutman, A. C. (1999). Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers. New York: McMillan Publishing Company.
Baker, M. (1992). In other words: A coursebook for translators. London & New York: Routledge.
Cabre, T. (1998). Terminology: Theory, methods and applications. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, PA:John Benjamins B.V.
Delisle, J., Jahnke-Lee H., & Cormier, M.C. (1999). Translation terminology. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company.
Duff, A. (1981). The third language. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Kugler, M., Ahmad, K., & Thurmair, G. (1995). Translator's Workbench: Tools and Terminology for Translation and Text Processing. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Markel, M.H. (1998). Technical Writing. Situations and Strategies. New York St.Martin's.
Newmark, P. (1988). A textbook for translation. UK: Prentice Hall.
Niska, H. (1998). Explorations in translational creativity: Strategies for interpreting neologisms. Retrieved January 25th, 2004 from http://lisa.tolk.su.se/kreeng2.htm.


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